Industrial manipulators are equipped with a motorized lifting column and a rigid articulating arm to grab and move objects. They are either secured to the floor or overhead for safe material handling, even when the object being moved is outside the manipulator’s center of mass.
Manual, electric, hydraulic, or pneumatic manipulator arms raise, lower, and rotate objects. Human operators can control the arm’s movement with great precision. Each model has a different range of payload and reach capacities.
Arms can be fitted with several types of end effectors and tools including, but not limited to, grippers, hooks, calipers, and pneumatic vacuum discs. Important factors in selecting an end effector are payload, shape, size, and the type of motion the application calls for, such as lifting, turning, pouring, upending, or a combination.
An industrial manipulator is often used when:
- Products are too heavy or awkward for manual lifting
- Workers must move items to and from hard-to-reach spaces
- Lifting and transporting objects presents a safety risk to workers
- The duration of the job risks worker fatigue
- Manual, high-volume operations are inefficient